The Business Of Dying In Banking

Aug 21 (Reuters) – The death of an intern working at the London offices of Bank of America Merrill Lynch has prompted calls for city firms to take more responsibility for the ambitious graduates who push themselves to the limit to secure jobs at the world’s top banks.

Shake your heads.

There is a reason why I encourage my son to be a marine biologist besides the fact that dolphins do not speak Mandarin. And to be sure, it has nothing to do with my secret ambition to see him settled in the Cook Islands conserving the Minke whales or in Palau, frolicking with the topless tribeswomen while caring for the whale sharks, or even fishing me a juicy lobster for my dinner.

Dying is not uncommon and in my years of experience, I say I have known, or indirectly known, some of them who suffered the usual heart seizure in the office while trading the USD/IDR or even GBP/USD. Some survive while a few passed on. The young trader in London who had 2 strokes before the age of 30, whether it was because of the regular 6 pints of ale that lunch consisted of, or whether it was the markets.  The personal friend in Singapore who succumbed to an epileptic fit at work, choking on her tongue and pronounced brain dead before organ failure took her life. Healthy young men dying at their desks or in bed, in Singapore, in the past decade include an OCBC analyst who died on his desk (few years back), the young Citi trainee who passed off in his sleep (about a decade ago), and of course, the recent unreported suicide of a certain gold trader at the Sail.

Is it any wonder that they installed defibrillators on the dealing floor last year ? Surely not because of the SICC car park incident ?

Then we hear of the suicides and drug abuse cases in London. The favourite restaurant jump spots.

“11 Jan 2013
A banker jumped to his death from a rooftop London restaurant after coming under “an enormous amount of pressure” in his job”

“5 Sept 2012
…third death at the No 1 Poultry restaurant ..”

Jumping onto the oncoming train could be messy like in this recent case  in July.

“03 July 2013
Michael Burdin, 50, jumped in front of a train after losing his job as foreign exchange manager at the Bank of America in London.”

“31 Jan 2013
A branch manager of UCO Bank committed suicide by jumping before a Virar-bound train near Mira Road station on Wednesday.”

Some more suicides for the morbid readers  to be found at these links .

These are besides the illnesses that we see along the way.

Then we have the headlines like the one at the top that jolt us on our seats and have us say a silent prayer thanking God that it was not our child. But that is what the rat race is about, and that the situation with wages and youth unemployment is making the race an even harder one, glamourized by the banking scandals along the way that exposed the seedy world of forbidden fruits in the lifestyles of bankers.

It should only get worse. New movie release The Wolf Of Wall Street will see many more internship applications to Merrill and gang.